Loy Krathong Festival


Legends and myths abound as to the origins of Loy (floating) Krathong. In the ancient kingdom of Sukhothai some 700 years ago in the royal court there was a lady with great artistic skills named Narng Noppamas . She loved to make little lotus-shaped " Krathong" (pronounced gra-tong) with banana leaves and float them on the water with a candle, incense, and other decorations as homage to the Buddha. Even this legend mentions that the local people already celebrated a lantern festival by floating decorated lanterns on the river. When the king came to judge the best lanterns, he awarded Narng Noppamart the first prize.

He further decreed that once a year, on the night of the full moon, a Buddhist holiday, people should celebrate by floating lotus-shaped banana leaf boats.

There are several other legends about the origin of Loy Krathong, however, most are all similar in one aspect: they all suggest a leisure-time festival that was adopted into Buddhism a time long after the religion had originated.

However, there is still another side to the origins of this festival. King Chulalongkorn himself wrote under the title. "The King's Ceremonies During the Twelve Months of the Year" various comments on Loy Krathong. He also put other comments and beliefs of his own in written form. Among these, he said that Loy Krathong had nothing to do with any recognized ceremony or ritual; it was only time of rejoicing for all the people and not only for members of the royal family. In addition, King Chulalongkorn wrote that the Loy Krathong festival had nothing to do with either Buddhism or Brahmin beliefs in India.

This esteemed monarch did say that he thought the idea of the floating lanterns had something to do with the practice of the Thai kings of the Northern Kingdom when Sukhothai was at its height about 700 years ago.

Loy Krathong is one of Thai annual festivals. It takes place on the full-moon day of the twelfth month of the lunar calendar. It is usually in mid November.

After the rainy season, which is the farming season. After working hard, farmers celebrate and relax. There are many objectives for this festival. The very important objectives in Thai people's minds for decades are to give respect to the Goddess of Water to thank for its benefit as well as to beg pardon for polluting the water. The other one is to push bad luck away and bring back good luck. People will make Krathong or buy one if they cannot make it and put a candle, 3 sticks of incense, money, hair, a piece of nail, etc. Then, they go to a river or a pond nearby to float Krathong. Loy Krathong is also an activity for the community.

The community will set a parade, choose Narng Noppamas or a Beauty Queen who is the most beautiful woman in the community, and set Krathong and Narng Noppamas contests. In the old time of traditional Thai culture young men and women did not have opportunity to meet each other except on religious events. Loy Krathong day was the very enjoyable day for the community that brought young men and women together. Many of them had built relationship from that evening. Some couples used floating Krathong as a prediction for their future marriage and family life. They believed if their Krathongs float away together, they would love and stayed together forever.

Acheived Picture Albums

Loy Krathong Festival 2003 at Thai Smile Restaurant, Wakefield, Massachusetts

Loy Krathong Festival 2002 at Air Force Base (Handscom Field), Lexington, Massachusetts


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